MUSIC

Daily Distraction: Watch Werner Herzog marvel at Richard Thompson playing guitar

A video for 'Treadwell No More' captures a studio session for the score of 'Grizzly Man,' Herzog's haunting film about bear-obsessed tragic figure Timothy Treadwell

Joel Oliphint
Columbus Alive
Werner Herzog watches Richard Thompson play guitar in a still from the video for "Treadwell No More," a track on "Music from Grizzly Man."

Werner Herzog's 2005 documentary, "Grizzly Man," tells the story of Timothy Treadwell, a bear-obsessed, former Hollywood actor who lived among the grizzlies in Alaska with his girlfriend, both of whom were mauled to death by the bears they loved (perhaps too much).

It's a complicated film, both beautiful and tragic, with all sorts of extrapolations on man's relationship to nature. To score the film, Herzog picked an incredible lineup of musicians led by Richard Thompson, who played solo guitar compositions and also recorded improvisations with a band consisting of Jim O’Rourke (piano, guitar), Danielle DeGruttola (cello), Damon Smith (upright bass) and John Hanes (percussion). 

Last Friday, No Quarter Records reissued the excellent Music From Grizzly Man, and in the video below, you can watch Thompson perform the remarkable solo guitar piece, "Treadwell No More." While it's a track that lends itself to closed eyes as you soak in the music, it's worth watching Herzog watch Thompson — bowing his head, listening intently and, at times, breaking into a smile and glancing at the recording engineers as they acknowledge the genius of Thompson, who tugs hard at beauty and tragedy, creating a friction that crackles with electricity.